Manager “not afraid to lose” is sacked after 13 games

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JUNE 20: Manager Gabriel Heinze of the Atlanta United looks to his team against the Philadelphia Union during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on June 20, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Atlanta United have fired manager Gabriel Heinze after an uninspiring start to the season.

After just eight months in charge of Atlanta United, Gabriel Heinze is out. His stint in Atlanta was far from impressive but it did have some interesting recent drama, which made the football being played on the pitch feel secondary. Perhaps a part of the reason he was fired.

Heinze led Atlanta United to a 2-4-7 record in the 2021 MLS season. He had some interesting comments after his latest loss — the day before he was relieved of his job — to the New England Revolution.

“I’m not afraid to lose,” Heinze said. “It’s a long time that I’ve been in this world. I know very well the rule.

“I want us to keep working, I don’t want to leave this path. It happened before to me. The path was the same. I’m giving everything I have. I really believe in what I’m doing, and I will keep doing the same.”

Source: AJC

Well, it looks like those losses have caught up to him.

Besides the poor results on the field, Heinze’s managerial choices have been under much scrutiny as well. He has been faced with a depleted selection of players recently — a result of injuries, national team call-ups and a controversial decision he made.

The controversial decision was the isolation of club and MLS superstar Josef Martinez. Heinze sent Josef to train by himself. The media speculated that this was because of a fitness issue but Heinze assured the media that this was his own decision and Josef’s fitness was not the reason.

“I have my reasons and I’m very clear on those reasons, he doesn’t have any kind of fitness problem,” Heinze said. “It’s my decision that he train away from the team.”

Source: Dirty South Soccer

This news sent the Atlanta fanbase into an uproar. If you’re going to send the club’s best player away from the team and refuse to play him, you better bring in results. Heinze did not and the supporters were quick to back their star man.

Atlanta United president Darren Eales said that the decision to fire Heinze had nothing to do with the Josef feud or the poor results. Surely, one or the other factored into the club’s decision.

Darren Eales and vice president Carlos Bocanegra have missed on their last two hires — Frank de Boer and Gabriel Heinze — and are aware that this next hire must be better.

“We have to get the next hire right,” Eales told the media in the club’s press conference this afternoon.

Supporters of the 2018 MLS Cup champions are growing annoyed with Eales and Bocanegra after the past two managerial hires as well as the 2020 and 2021 seasons, which have been disappointing.

Assistant Coach Rob Valentino will step in as the interim head coach.